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Structure. 2007 Jun;15(6):707-14.

Structure of synaptophysin: a hexameric MARVEL-domain channel protein.

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  • 1MCD Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.


Synaptophysin I (SypI) is an archetypal member of the MARVEL-domain family of integral membrane proteins and one of the first synaptic vesicle proteins to be identified and cloned. Most all MARVEL-domain proteins are involved in membrane apposition and vesicle-trafficking events, but their precise role in these processes is unclear. We have purified mammalian SypI and determined its three-dimensional (3D) structure by using electron microscopy and single-particle 3D reconstruction. The hexameric structure resembles an open basket with a large pore and tenuous interactions within the cytosolic domain. The structure suggests a model for Synaptophysin's role in fusion and recycling that is regulated by known interactions with the SNARE machinery. This 3D structure of a MARVEL-domain protein provides a structural foundation for understanding the role of these important proteins in a variety of biological processes.

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